Okada Manila to lay off 1,000 workers due to COVID-19 losses

Jessica Fenol and Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2020 03:52 PM | Updated as of May 27 2020 04:33 PM

The almost empty streets of Bay City in Pasay City in front of Okada Manila during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon. Photo taken on April 7, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - (UPDATE) Okada Manila said Wednesday it would lay off some 1,000 workers, citing "severe losses" from the coronavirus lockdown that shuttered its operations.

The billion-dollar casino resort has not generated revenue since the lockdown and if left unaddressed, "the losses will pile up," it said in a memo to employees. The Okada group's press relations manager, Donna Manio, confirmed the memo to ABS-CBN News.

"Okada Manila announces with deep regret that it will be reducing its workforce via a retrenchment program. It is a reality that the company could not escape because of the new normal that lies ahead of us," the memo signed by its president Takashi Oya said.

Notices of retrenchment will be issued starting June 15,Okada Manila said. Affected employees will receive separation pay in accordance with the law, it said. 

The entire island of Luzon was placed under lockdown on March 17, where non-essential businesses as well as land, air and sea travel were suspended. Metro Manila remains under modified enhanced community quarantine until May 31. 

Employees were informed of the retrenchment program through Facebook Messenger and email, a female Okada staff told ABS-CBN News. The human resources department did not entertain any questions, said the employee, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak to the media.

“Siyempre nagulat sa sinabi ng president at sobrang stressed kami lahat kasi napakahirap ng walang trabaho at napamahal ka na sa work mo,” she said. 

(We were surprised with what the President said. We are all stressed since its very difficult if you don’t have a job and if you love your job)

“Magdasal na lang ‘yung pag-asa namin. Waiting kami sa June 15 kung ano balita,” she added.

(Prayer is our only hope while waiting for news on June 15.)

Some 2.6 million Filipinos have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Unemployment could rise to over 5 million due to the pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment earlier said.

-- with a report from April Rafales, ABS-CBN News